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Amsterdam steakhouse boss admits selling horse for 63 years

Friday 15 February 2013

Amsterdam steakhouse Piet de Leeuw has been selling horse fillets as beef for 63 years, owner Loek van Thiel admitted to the Parool on Friday.

On Thursday, Van Thiel had denied the charges, saying the cafe only sold  South American beef. The Parool had various pieces of meat tested and concluded the cafe's popular steaks were horse.

Van Thiel came clean on Friday, saying the cafe has sold horse since 1949 when his father, a horse meat butcher, bought the premises.

Staff at the cafe have a contract which states they are not allowed to say anything about the use of horse. 'I've never considered saying 'horse steak' on the menus,' he said. 'People enjoyed their food, business was good, so why should I?'

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

I'm not wrong, I am always correct even though, I have been caught out to be a prolific liar, he said in all truth?

By Highlander | 15 February 2013 4:10 PM

Why should you tell the truth!?! 63 years. This is almost unbelieveable - and very very sad.

By Z | 15 February 2013 4:17 PM

What ! I have eaten there off and on for years attracted by the simple and honest(?) food. Old fashioned and very Amsterdamish .

I must have misread the menu which I was sure said Beef steak with Horseradish sauce- now I know what he really meant was Horse with beef sauce. Yuck !!

By notnef | 15 February 2013 4:23 PM

As shown on the websites as a "Top Restaurant" in the city. The Dutchies do love their horse!

By Paul | 15 February 2013 4:24 PM

Next time he would say: 'I've never considered saying 'LAB-GROWN MEAT' on the menus. People enjoyed their food, business was good, so why should I?'

By Jakub | 15 February 2013 4:38 PM

OMG I went there once cause I got it recommended as a good choice after Loetje...

By tomi | 15 February 2013 4:53 PM

Ok, but what if somebody would claim: "'I've never considered saying 'human steak' on the menus,' he said. 'People enjoyed their food, business was good, so why should I?'"


By Peter | 15 February 2013 6:11 PM

Amsterdam steakhouse boss admits selling horse for 63 years. I went there with my then wife, she eat such a stack and has never been the same spends approximately 22 hours a day grazing over a wide terrain.

By Terence Hale | 15 February 2013 7:17 PM

He should go to jail and have his assets confiscated. He is a fraudulent criminal that has been deceiving the public for decades and he should pay for the crime. People should have the option of eating horse meat if they so desire but they shouldn't be fed horse when they are ordering (and paying) for beef. To make matters worse, I just checked the prices for his hellhole of a restaurant and he was charging 19 euros for "biefstuk", hardly a bargain when he was feeding people the much cheaper horse meat.

By Gretchen | 15 February 2013 7:22 PM


No wonder it was impossible to find a decent steak in the Netherlands.

By Stupid | 15 February 2013 8:32 PM

Horse meat substitute for beef is pretty common in the Netherlands, which is why I never buy it.

By Quince | 15 February 2013 9:04 PM

I wonder if he will be fined or be paarden-ed!

By M | 16 February 2013 10:46 AM

Why should you tell people they were eating HORSE? Are you dumb or just greedy? He was charging for beef steak and giving a toxic steak of 100% HORSE. BUTE is toxic in any level in humans and is terrible for the unborn baby. He threatened his employees with his "contract" and knew he was lying, stealing and thretening legal action when he was in the wrong. He needs to be in jail! Why are the dutch ok with paying for beef and getting toxic horse. Is it ok to be lied to and cheated? Whats wrong with you stand up for yourself!No more pits in your pie or mystery pieces!!No more branches in beans!! NO HORSE WITH BEEF Prices!

By Destiny | 16 February 2013 2:01 PM

...WHY? Because horse meat is way cheaper and he's been committing *fraud* for all these decades selling horse meat as beef at prime steak prices. That is why.

By Pkim | 16 February 2013 2:46 PM

Should be fined for it!

By a | 16 February 2013 6:49 PM

'People enjoyed their food, business was good, so why should I?'

Erm... because you're being dishonest, and defrauding your customers?

By glenn_uk | 16 February 2013 11:41 PM

The cheek he has asking why he should have told people it was horse meat since they enjoyed their food! False advertising at it's best.

Kill him, cut off his flesh and serve it to people at beef... that'll show him.

By A Nonny Mouse | 17 February 2013 1:21 PM

WTF? who cares what type of meat it is, you are all guilty of supporting the disgusting factory farmed meat cheats..but please continue to support the shareholders of this evil industry, bon appetite! :P

By The visitor | 17 February 2013 8:51 PM

I guess Horse taste like beef!

By wayne lambright | 17 February 2013 9:01 PM

For what it's worth, iens has been deleting reviews for this place that warn the public of his fraud. Now we also cannot trust restaurant review sites...

By Gretchen | 17 February 2013 10:53 PM

sounds delicious. I would be willing to try one. shit the steakhouse was in business for decades. must be good.

By r | 17 February 2013 10:53 PM

Wow...overreacting much? @Destiny, it says nothing about horsemeat being tainted with bute in the article. In fact, legal horsemeat should be free of bute, so as long as he was buying from a good legal supplier, that wasn't a risk.
At the end of the day, yeah it was wrong, but people did enjoy the food. And @A Nonny Mouse, kill him? really? grow up.

By Mike | 18 February 2013 1:51 AM

As a dutchman, I am ashamed that this story actually exists. I know why he substituted horse for beef, typical greedy dutch businessman. What I cannot understand is how come the customers cannot see the difference between horse and beef? Have all of you lost your sense of taste? Is your food so bad you don't know the difference? The staff, they knew, bunch of morons for not telling someone anonymously. Must be that dutch tolerance psyshe.

By Aussie dutchman | 18 February 2013 2:51 AM

I love foal steak and eat it frequently. I have never understood why people are disgusted by the thought of eating horse.

By Erlendur | 18 February 2013 3:12 AM

Where on a horse does it say do not eat me? I agree that it's deceitful to lie about what meat one is serving, but on the other hand, what makes it OK to eat a cow or a pig, but not a horse or a dog for that matter? Most of the controversy seems to revolve around the fact that it's horse meat, rather than around the deceitfulness of the matter, and this is just silly to me.

By Jothiratnam | 18 February 2013 5:15 AM

Im a Dutch guy in Canada. I go to the local Dutch store every so often to get stuff I liked from bak home and among it is horse meat. I love a good steak from a horse but haven't found it here yet. The smoked horse meat I buy is sandwich meat. Thin sliced meat tastes lost like prosciutto... That's the closest comparion; it is very lean, salty and full of flavor. I remember a specialty butcher store in Dordrecht (holland) that only dealt in horse meat. He was a very busy and rich man. Very popular. I love it!
Btw... I also love horses... And cows, pigs etc.. No different to me.

By Rudy | 18 February 2013 5:33 AM

I forgot to mention; I do believe that people need to be told what they are buying and will be eating beforehand. The same as I won't eat dog or cat meat, yet some other cultures might, I want to be informed before I order something from the menu.

By Rudy | 18 February 2013 5:38 AM

People freak out when they know what is in their food, it tasted fine when they ate it, whats the problem now?

By miles | 18 February 2013 8:13 AM

he must be sent to jail.
and we should eat less meat.
because excess consumption is the main reason of all these issues.

By brutal truth | 18 February 2013 9:15 AM

Bottom line is: vegetarianism is the way to go!
No horse will secretly be served for decades instead of your carrots, no mad cow disease in your spinach, none of that really...
Way to go I say ;)

By Little Red Frog | 18 February 2013 9:41 AM

I am curious, will be be charged with fraud and criminal activity by the Dutch authorities? The court should charge him a million for each year that he has been in business and redistribute it has charity. No point sending him to jail on the Queen or the King's expense, he should be made to live penniless, that is the best punishment for his crime.

By Prithvi | 18 February 2013 11:34 AM

While it is true that he should have said 'horse' on the menu, there's nothing wrong with horse steak. It's quite delicious.

People need to stop being so squeemish; horse steak is actually healthier to eat than beef, and cheaper as well.

By Yummy, horse | 18 February 2013 12:29 PM

That people were charged on for a more expensive product than they got seems a decent reason for outcry to me.

If you sell it as being horse, it's cheaper. If you sell it as beef, it won't be cheaper at all.

Good to see that hardly anyone is making an issue of serving horse in the first place and that this is seen more as an economical crime (which it essentially is).

By Joshua | 18 February 2013 1:37 PM

I do not know who is worse, the criminal owner that was running the place, or every single one of the pathetic employees that never went public with this information and prefered to be accomplices to this crime in exchange of a puny salary... literally whores (no offence meant to real whores).

By Dimitris | 18 February 2013 1:46 PM

I suspect there will be no real punishment or criminal fraud charges against him. This is Nederland, and this is also a big problem here - laws and regulations without any real consequences.

Makes you feel real safe here huh?

By Z | 18 February 2013 1:50 PM

Funny how people are horrified by the thought of eating a horse, but a cow... pretty much the same animal with a less-long face is not disgusting to eat? Open you eyes idiots.

By Simon Clark | 18 February 2013 2:02 PM

I have checked the menu of Piet de Leeuw and it clearly lists both beef and horse steaks. Horse being about 4 euros less than the beef. Now if the owner ONLY sells horse meat then he should be in big trouble!


By Andrew | 18 February 2013 3:20 PM

I think it's pretty hilarious that all these people who are going STOP BEING SQUEAMISH AND EAT YOUR HORSE would be up in arms and whining if they were served old mutton instead of prime lamb, pike instead of the exotic fish they paid for in their sushi, AH chicken instead of fresh game. The man who runs this restaurant is a CON ARTIST who has been ripping people off for years, charging them for what he's not serving. Regardless of people's cultural or ethical standpoint on horse, there is no way he should ever get away with that. He's a dirty rotten thief and should be in jail.

By bobbianderson | 18 February 2013 3:46 PM

It was always well known in Amsterdam that 'Piet de Leeuw' sold horse steaks and he wasn't afraid to admit it. That was until his son took over and decided to pretend it was beef. So yes, even though they've been serving steak for 63 years, they've only lied about it since Loek took over (not sure when). Which only goes to show that lying will bite you in the end!

By Cloggy | 18 February 2013 4:12 PM

The owner should be charged with fraud, and the business should have their trading licence revoked. What a joke! When are the Dutch authorities going to get tough?

By Brenno | 18 February 2013 5:24 PM

The issue here isn't about horse meat being good or bad (I like it personally). It's about fraud and a man who has lied to his customers for decades. Shame on him, he's a liar, thief and needs to be severely punished along with all others of his ilk.

By Joost | 18 February 2013 5:36 PM

The taste of horse meat is close to beef meat. It may explain why so many customer were happy with their steaks.

By Crazy horse | 18 February 2013 10:04 PM

@Terence Hale
(spends approximately 22 hours a day grazing over a wide terrain) I am certain that all of our fellow bloggers here at the Dutch News website are very sad indeed to learn of your,'then wife's' demise, and current predicament'. May I take this opportunity to suggest that her current requirement for 22hrs grazing will be fulfilled entirely, in Friesland? Some say, 'the grass is always greener on the other side of the Ranstad', and its true. Hopefully, opportunistic 'Dutch horse traders don't notice her healthy shiny black and white human countenance' or, she may end up 'medium rare', on an Amsterdam restaurant dinner table'. Vigilance, is required?

By Highlander | 19 February 2013 10:12 AM

so as Yummy horse states..."stop being so squeamish"...You know Iv heard dog, cat and even rat meet is quite good when cooked right and healthier and cheaper as well. So she should change her name to "Yummy, horse,dog,cat,rat."

By alanposting | 19 February 2013 10:41 AM

Yummy, horse: that is completely beside the issue! The real issues are integrity, public health and safety (checking food served to the public to make sure it is what it says it is) and also cost. As you yourself pointed out, horse meat is considerably cheaper. When I go to a restaurant and pay 30 euros for a beef steak, I want a beef steak - not a horse meat steak that costs the restaurant 60 - 70% less to buy in and sold to me at 100% beef prices. Duh....

By Dave | 19 February 2013 2:42 PM

Meat is meat but you must be told what you are eating. I have happily eaten horse, crocodile, shark, emu, kangaroo, rabbit etc but only after i made the choice to do so. This greedy guy needs to be made an example of to deter others.

By Join the meat club | 19 February 2013 3:41 PM

I'm an American and I just want to warn you - legit horse meat may not contain bute - but who's to say the horse meat you're eating is legit? The international horse meat trade is rotten to the core and can't be trusted AT ALL. Where did these horses you've been eating come from? Who knows? It's very possible they originated in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of US horses are slaughtered in Mexico and Canada for export to the EU every year. These horses are almost certainly contaminated with bute and/or any one of hundreds of banned substances in wide use here. Horses are not food animals here and are regulated accordingly.

By Suzanne Moore | 19 February 2013 5:40 PM

Ha. Thats awesome. Ive eaten there and the steaks are quite delicious. I dont know what the big deal is really.

By Mark | 19 February 2013 10:22 PM

Well, we know who doesn't speak dutch. Biefstuk means steak. That's it. Up in arms about something you know nothing about.

By Lowskiesgirl | 26 February 2013 12:08 AM

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